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Portrait of the month November 2018

Q: are you fully blind

A: no I have still some sense of light but I had visual problems scince birth

Q: But you visited a normal school or did you go to a special Greek institution for visually impaired?

A: No, I did not. I went to a normal kinder garden and later started in a normal school. After graduating there I made my Specialization at public law at the University of Athens. Currently I am a doctoral candidate and working as a lawyer the same time.

Q: Isn’t that effort taking making a dissertation and working the same time?

A: Of course it is difficult to do both things at once. Especially the research for work and university a like is a challenge. There are still many problems concerning built environment accessibility. For example, as a blind person I naturally can’t enter a library, choose my book from the shelfs and start reading. But also the electronic resources are not with out bariers: Webpages are not accessible, libraries don’t have a voice system and most old documents are handwritten.

Q: Does anyone support you in overcoming this bariers?

A: We don’t have an institution that offers special help for post graduate students and support. Blind students also don’t get any extra money from the state for their studies. So if you need help and the state can’t help you friends and family get involved and are asked for support. But even if they would always help me as good as they can, the family’s help is my last option for I don’t want to feel dependent on anyone.

Q: Since 2007 you have heard about views international and even started working with them, do you face the same obsticals there?

A: I started working closely with views international 3 years ago when I got designated as a member of the bord of administration. As an international organization for blind and partially sighted views international knows the problems and obstacles which blind and partially sighted people have to overcome. So of course they are more comprehensive on our problems and needs, clear bariers away and provide help. Obviously there will still be things you can’t do alone, but working with views international is easier and more accessible.

Q: When you work as administrative bord member for views, what are your tasks there?

A: I take part in the monthly bord of administrater meetings and in the general assemblies of views. As administrators we always help when there is a problem for example with the EVS apartment or weather or not to accept people for an evs project, organizing workshops and trainingscurses etc.

Q: How did you come to views?

A: A blind teacher of mine told me about a youth exchange from views international taking place in Paris. I decided to go there and spend two weeks where I learned how blind and partialy sighted people from everywhere master their lives and projects. And because I liked to travel, meet new people, and feeling independent I stayed in contact with the organization, got to know new organizations and started working for views.

Q: Is views the only organization you are involved in?

A: no, I also am a member of the board of administrators of Greek national federation for the blind. In addition to that I participate actively in the group “young greek europeans” which is a memberorganization of views international.

Q: Your office at views board expires in less than a month. It is sure that you don’t want to recandidate for now to have more time for your dissertation. But you aren’t leaving views, are you?

A: No I defenitly will stay in contact with everyone I met through views. It is true that I now need some time for my final graduation, but I can help views anyway if there are some problems or participate in training courses if this is possible. To sum it up, I stay with views but don’t do an official job there for now.

Thank you a lot for this Interview and good luck for your dissertation!